No Mixed Bathing (FEMbruary 2021)

Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog – a wash and brush up for the new 54mm BMC Plastic Army Women figures, prior to the FEMbruary believable female figure painting challenge (started by Alex at Lead Balloony)

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/02/01/no-mixed-bathing-fembruary-2021/

As FEMbruary back up, I also have some lovely Bad Squiddo WW2 Pigeoneers.

Not too late to join in … grab a female figures and join in!

Crossposted by Mark Man of TIN, 1 February 2021

The Bronte Sisters and Brother’s ImagiNations – Isabel Greenberg’s Glass Town and Annie Norman Bad Squiddo female figures

Annie Norman’s Votes for Famous Women! Baggy’s Cave – Facebook group 24 January 2021

Annie Norman at her Bad Squiddo official Facebook Group Baggy’s Cave is running an interesting poll about which historical female figures that gamers, mini painters and collectors would like to pledge towards or see produced in future by Bad Squiddo.

I thought of the Bronte Sisters (and brother Branwell) who were pioneering Role Playing Gamers in the 1830s through their juvenile fictions or ImagiNations of Glass Town, Gondal and Angria, inspired by a gift of some wooden toy soldiers.

These have been a great stimulus for my gaming to continuing or exploring these sketched out but sketchy Bronte ImagiNations

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

The fragments that have survived of these ImagiNations as we have mentioned before in Bronte posts are somewhat confusing but I found that Isabel Greenberg’s charming graphic novel version Glass Town straightens or smoothed many of these story and character fragments out.

I loved Isabel Greenberg’s drawings of these four Brontes in the same Regency / early Victorian costumes as their ImagiNations characters. You can see an example of such pages of Isabel’s work here on the interesting US based Solrad comics website:

Red-haired Branwell and his sisters https://solrad.co/preview-glass-town-isabel-greenberg

Great uniforms https://solrad.co/preview-glass-town-isabel-greenberg

Annie Norman’s Bad Squiddo figures are usually 28mm. I think that Bronte figures would be excellent figures – and even better if there was a set in ImagiNations uniforms and a shadow set as they were in real life portraits, always useful as Early Victorian Civilians.

Dual Use figures – saves costs, extends their play value and their potential market of buyers, as well as the Haworth Yorkshire tourism, the Bronte Fan and literary market worldwide.

With this flag these are classic Airfix ACW confederate infantry

Adding Bronte ImagiNations command or character personality figures means that with some simple dual flagging, a Napoleonic or Colonial 19th Century unit instantly becomes an ImagiNations one.

The Bronte sisters and Branwell grew up in an age of conflict in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, during a young Queen Victoria’s expanding Empire and Charlotte living up to the Crimean War. Their tragic deaths at a relatively young age meant they were all dead ten years before the American Civil War.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/21/man-of-tin-blogvent-calendar-day-21-angria-rebooted/

You can see this dual flagging in use here, saving time, storage, figures and painting costs:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/adamstown-or-angria-vintage-airfix-acw-repaired/

Arise Angria! Just add my Bronte ImagiNations flag design of a rising sun on red background

The same dual flagging works at 15mm with the addition of an Angrian flag bearer to my Peter Laing mixed ACW and ECW unit figures seen here seeing off Ashantee Warriors and rogue Highlanders in the ‘Tropical Yorkshire’ forest of the Brontes’ fevered Imaginations:

Bronte ImagiNations, Peter Laing figures, Featherstone’s Close Wars rules, Heroscape hexes … happy man!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/a-skirmish-in-angria-close-little-wars-rules/

After a mad few minutes “Bronte Fan Bombing” the comments section of Baggy’s Cave on Facebook a little, I wondered what if Annie Norman and the Bad Squiddo Facebook folk don’t choose the Brontes as special figures?

I might have to scratch around in 20mm Airfix for Waggon Train women, both bare headed or in bonnets, and the Robin Hood / Sherwood Forest sets (Maid Marian on horseback!) to find suitable Bronte Sisters figures in uniform. I would have to do the same for my few Peter Laing 15mm civilian females.

And for 54mm, we start off with plucky Kate McGuffin, ‘daughter of the Fort’, in the Gondal Forests of Gondal and Pacific coasts of North Generica (America) … https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/28/a-romantic-walk-in-the-forest-interrupted-the-skirmish/

Not forgetting Celia Rees’ great young adult novel called Glass Town Wars,

if you want to add djinn, faeries, fantasy and Ancients to the Regency Napoleon Bronte ImagiNations – oh and the odd helicopter gunship ….

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/31/glass-town-wars-by-celia-rees-a-gaming-modern-take-on-the-bronte-imaginations/

Nor forgetting the Bronte Sisters Power Up dolls (spoof advert of action figures that sadly never made it into production) https://youtu.be/-NKXNThJ610

Who could resist? Vote for the Brontes!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 24 January 2021

In the Teeth of the Enemy: Christmas Cracker Scrap Terrain

Unusual shelter for 2/3 of my 28mm Russian army from Bad Squiddo’s WW2 Women range

Enjoy recycling your Christmas cracker scrap this year!

Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog by Mark Man of TIN 23 December 2020:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/12/23/in-the-teeth-of-the-enemy-more-unusual-scrap-terrain/

Support Smaller Figure Companies: Annie Norman and Bad Squiddo Pigeoneers of WW2

Always a personal touch, last time a herbal tea bag, this time a Dr Carrot doodle by Annie and Co.

My Bad Squiddo order arrived a day or two ago. I unpacked and checked it ready for the next 2021 Spring Flower Show in the Village Hall.

https://badsquiddogames.com

Always a pleasure to see the lively and stylish quality of the graphics on all the Bad Squiddo packaging, as I posted about back in 2018:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/fembruary-3-annie-normans-bad-squiddo-land-girl-picnic-and-a-cuppa/

I don’t usually go to wargames shows as there are none that near me anyway.

I know that not attending these shows due to the pandemic closures has affected lots of manufacturers, big and small. I thoroughly support someone’s suggestion on their blog or Facebook forum that we should buy what we would have browsed and bought at a show. Many figure companies that have not mothballed during the pandemic have been doing their best to keep going through their online shop offer.

In addition to the small purchases that I make throughout the year to put away for Christmas to help my family out on the difficult task of what to buy me as a gift, I have bought ahead of time these beautiful and unusual Bad Squiddo female Pigeoneers of WW2 and pigeon baskets.

I don’t game in 28mm. These will get painted up as part of my #FEMbruary female figure painting challenge for 2021.

They should do well as a possible painting diorama vignette entry on the next Spring Flower Show (this year’s show was another casualty of Lockdown). The wonderful Doctor Carrot and Potato Pete figures are for another future project but could also form an alternative Spring flower show entry in the mixed craft section?

The last 2019 Flower Show diorama to showcase or promote ManCraft or Boycraft in a mostly female art and craft section was Annie’s Land Girls, a tribute to her Land Army Nan. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/huzzah-for-boycraft-flower-show-craft-success/

When I posted this in Baggy’s Cave the Bad Squiddo Facebook fan group, it made Annie Norman cry!

Whoops. I made Annie Norman cry. I didn’t think the gloss toy soldier painting was that bad. 🙂

Sorry Annie! Bad Squiddo – a great smaller ‘mini’ company to support. Annie Norman does a very relaxed and informal visual Sunday coffee morning hangout on YouTube and there is also the Baggy’s Cave Facebook group.

In future posts, I will share some more Christmas stowings away of a small Infantry skirmish sized order from Paul at Early War Miniatures Dutch and Danish 1940 range in 20mm and a patrol or two of Sergeants Mess Boy Scouts also in 20mm (1:72 metal).

Support your favourite Miniature makers – buy early for Christmas. Or now …

Why? Because you’re worth it! They need the cash flow. It’s our gaming version of the government “eat out to help out” scheme for restaurants in the U.K.

Watch this space.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 9 August 2020.

Women Soldiers – Girl’s Own Paper Article 1893

As part of FEMbruary 2020, here’s an interesting article on Women Soldiers from a random edition of the Girl’s Own Paper that I once owned, dated November 4th 1893

G.O.P. was sister to the Boy’s Own Paper – I wonder what their boy’s take on an article about Woman Soldiers would be?

The opening page with herald – Taran Tara!

A Victorian take on women in the military:

Column 3

Article written by Laura Alex. Smith, Girl’s Own Paper November 4th 1893

The Dahomey Amazons featured in my FEMbruary blogpost of 2018: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/03/10/more-dahomey-amazons/

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/colonial-amazons-women-soldiers-of-dahomey-and-siam/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 27 FEMbruary 2020

This is the GOP edition that this Women Soldiers article came from.

And for good measure, a fine military looking gent  in GOP, December 3rd 1887:

Huzzah for Boycraft – Flower Show Craft Success!

 

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I noticed the Land Army badge symbol of the harvested wheat sheaf is picked up in the Land Girl declining against the wheat sheaf on the right. Unplanned!

A success for boycraft at my local village spring flower show!

My 28mm Bad Squiddo Miniatures WW2 Land Girls received Third Prize in the Miscellaneous (Adult) Crafts.

I was quietly pleased as it is  the first time I’ve entered, having noticed a lack of male competitors in many sections last year.  My Land Girls had good stiff competition in their Miscellaneous Crafts Class 96 against serious traditional crafts like stained glass  and felt art / making.

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The Land Girls in preparation …

I wasn’t sure how a military subject would go down in the craft section of a flower show, so chose something appropriate to the  horticultural theme and the local area. I’m sure the local Land Girls came in for dances in our Village Hall, which opened like many after the First World War.

I wasn’t sure how my shiny gloss toy soldier painting style would go down, whether people would expect something more ‘Matt’ and earthy.

The judges wrote on the entry slip “So detailed and a wonderful sentiment. Thank you for entering” as I had personalised it as a tribute to Land Girls who served and trained in the area I live in. That’s good enough for me  – one of the judges got what I was trying to do.

To create a context for the women at work, I added some simple brown  felt strips over coffee stirrers to be the rows for spuds (potatoes) being planted.

It has been overcast and stormy, not the best weekend of constant light  for photography, but I wanted to photograph the figures in case they didn’t survive the hustle and bustle of exhibition outside of a display case.

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My favourite of the figures, the Land Girl watching the sky for rain clouds or airplanes.

A previous blog post shows the Land Girls in preparation:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/back-to-the-land-for-fembruary-2019

Annie Norman’s Bad Squiddo range of WW2 and fantasy females can be seen at
https://badsquiddogames.com/shop#!/Bad-Squiddo-Miniatures/c/20887901/offset=0&sort=addedTimeDesc

I’m already thinking about what to enter next year … maybe I will enter some quirky Prince August based 54mm home cast traditional toy soldiers?  Speaking of Prince August moulds and figures – Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Who knows my ‘Land Girls’ might flush out into the open a few more male crafters for next year? This would be great but also more competition.

Thanks to Marvin at Suburban  Militarism blog for his encouragement to enter this  mancraft into the flower show.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on  17 March 2019.

The Unwomanly Face of War – book review

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It’s World Book Day on March 7th and International Women’s Day on March 8th (so unofficially the end of this year’s  painting and modelling challenge #FEMbruary 2019).

To mark these dates I thought that I would review this fascinating military oral history book about Russian women in WW2. It is possibly one of the freshest and most interesting military or social history books that I have read about WW2 for several years since The Taste of War: WW2 and the Battle for Food by Lizzie Collingham (2011).

One of the downsides of reading many WW2 books is having to (skim) read the same material  over and over again in different books, which makes finding new material or insights all the more interesting.

The author Svetlana Alexievich interviewed many Russian servicewomen in the 1970s and 1980s about their war experiences in WW2. She used the same ‘polyphonic’ oral history approach in her other work such as Boys in Zinc (1991) about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which I have not yet read.

The Unwomanly Face of War was published first in Russian in 1985, then translated into English in Moscow in 1988. The book was rejected by several Russian publishers as ‘unsuitable’ history. When this book was first written and the oral histories recorded, Russia was still the old USSR then. Glasnost and Perestroika were still several years away.

Svetlana Alexievich returned to the subject of the book in the early 2002-2004 and added or restored more material, presumably as some forms of Soviet 1980s censorship had changed by then. This is what is featured in this recent translation published by Penguin in 2017 / 2018.

Extracts here https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2016/on-the-battle-lost-by-svetlana-alexievich.html

There are some updated or  presumably new sections in the preface – “what the censors threw out”, “from a conversation with a censor” and “what I threw out” – that are interesting to read in light of this self censorship and official censorship of what is suitable national history.

Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015 for her well curated “polyphonic” oral histories  on Chernobyl, the Russian war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the break up of the USSR, children in WW2 and this unusual book on Russian women at war in WW2.

Why am I reading this book?

I began reading this book as part of my 2019 FEMbruary figure challenge to paint or celebrate your believable female gaming or model miniatures.

The recent 28mm Women of WW2 Bad Squiddo Miniatures range by Annie Norman  had not only female soldiers, tank crews and snipers but also a command group of medics and radio operators, which I chose to paint. They are almost complete as of the end of #FEMbruary.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/31/fembruary-2019-and-new-bad-squiddo-figures-arrive/

This FEMbruary blogpost also links to some interesting Guardian interviews with Svetlana Alexievich.

Fellow FEMbruary challenge acceptor Marvin at Suburban Militarism chose the Female sniper and spotter pair.

https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/fembruary-2019-soviet-sniper-sisters-in-snow/

What makes the book unusual and fascinating is that it is skilfully curated directly from the words of the women themselves, presumably transcribed from tape recordings or letters. Their job roles go beyond the somewhat known – female snipers, the first female fighter pilots – and into the less well known but more stereotypically ‘feminine’ jobs. Surgeon. Nurse. Medical Assistants to infantry or Army Regiments  – armed Combat Medics.

There were plenty of women who worked with or fought with the Partisans. Other women served on the front line as sappers, engineers, mechanics, radio and telegraph engineers.

Even more surprising were the oral histories from women proud of their patriotic service as Laundrywomen.  Mobile bath units. Cooks. Bakers. You forget that someone had to clean and repair uniforms. Cook the bread. Boil the water for soldiers to have a hot bath.

These women are  the equivalent to the unromantic duties of the ATS women in Britain who cooked, cleaned, baked and repaired for the war effort – but often in the war in Russia these jobs took women well into the combat zone and front line.

A quick scan through of the ranks listed after each woman’s name shows everything from Private and Partisan fighter through junior officers (“Lieutenant, Political Commissar of  a Field Laundry Unit” was one of the most unusual) up to high ranking posts such as airforce officers and a rare, almost accidental female Naval Commander post!

The range of jobs listed by the interviewees is fascinating:

Factory Labour Front Worker

Partisan Underground Fighter / Liaison / Medic

Militia Commander

Anti-Aircraft Gunner

Commander MG Platoon

Field Bath and Laundry Unit, Laundress

Searchlight Operator

Construction Unit, Engineer / Sapper / Miner (land mines?)

Art Singer

Armorer

Political Journalist

Rifleman

Radio Operator

Military Journalist

Cook

Logistics / Driver / Traffic Controller

Postal Worker / Communications

Telegrapher / Telephone Operator

Scout

Sniper

Nurse / Nurse Aide / Matron through to Surgeon

Paramedic and Private, Motorised infantry

(Front line) Medical Assistant  to an Army Company or Cavalry Squadron

Airplane Mechanic / Car Mechanic

Pilot / Airforce Captain

Naval Fleet Commander

Crypotographer

Some jobs I had never heard of such as an Aerostat Operator – I had to look this up. Surprsingly such odd or old fashioned sounding jobs are still advertised today! An aerostat (from Greek aer (air) + statos (standing) via French) is a “lighter than air aircraft that gains its lift through the use of a buoyant gas. Aerostats include unpowered balloons and powered airships. Especially with airships, the gasbags are often protected by an outer envelope.” (Wikipedia)

Maybe these aerostat operators are the equivalent of the WAAF girls who handled Barrage Balloons in Britain.  These Aerostat balloons  were known as ‘Pigs’ not just because of their shape but also stubbornly annoying “temperament”. Such balloon girls were immortalised in paint by British war artist Laura Knight. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/15503

The Unwomanly Face of War sadly has no such illustrations, aside from the striking cover image of Natalya Kravtsova, commander of the 46th Guards Air Regiment, well decorated  ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’. It would have been interesting to have seen wartime photos of these women at work or when they were interviewed in the 1970s and 1980s. However I’m sure a trawl through Soviet wartime art would reveal many Laura Knight style, realist/ Soviet heroic style portrait paintings of Russian servicewomen. Pinterest has many ‘recoloured’ portrait photos of Russian servicewomen, decorated, famous or otherwise.

It is not a pleasant read in parts, dealing plainly with frontline combat, injury and also the atrocities inflicted on Russian civilians.

There is also however friendship, romance, patriotic pride, occasional humour, stoic self sacrifice, postwar denial and a relief at finally being able to tell or record these stories and experiences many years later.

The end of my FEMbruary challenge 2019?

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Bad Squiddo Games website image of 28mm painted Russian Women’s Command figures, sculpted by Alan Marsh .
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My almost finished 28mm Bad Squiddo Games Russian Soviet Command – Officer, Field Telephonist and Armed Medic. Gloss paint and gloss varnish style.

I am not sure what use this book would be to wargamers or tabletop gamers who focus on the Eastern Front in WW2 or what they would make of this book.

As I have no intention of gaming the Eastern Front in 28mm, I bought these Bad Squiddo figures more for diorama or vignette purposes. They could potentially be converted to female troops of other nationalities.

Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo Miniatures has a widening range of varied Soviet / Russian Military Women https://badsquiddogames.com/shop#!/WW2

There is an interview about this range with Annie Norman on the Meeples and Miniatures podcast about this Women of the Red Army range  with Annie’s further book recommendations: https://meeples.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/meeples-miniatures-episode-168-bad-squiddo-games-women-of-the-red-army/

Just as many of the roles undertaken in wartime in Russia were mirrored in some ways in Britain in WW2, there’s a Bad Squiddo British Women of WW2 range. I have also painted some more of Annie Norman’s Land Girls from her Bad Squiddo Women of WW2 range as my challenge for FEMbruary 2019.  https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/back-to-the-land-for-fembruary-2019

Blogposted for International Women’s Day (8th) and World Book Day (7th) March 2019 by Mark, Man of TIN blog.

#FEMbruary Hobby Challenge Conversions

 

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Suffrajitzu for #FEMbruary anyone?

IMG_2067https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/mr-thomas-atkins-and-family/

I don’t have many female miniatures or toy soldiers. The Queen, the odd nurse or land girl, a few  female pioneers or Wild West Civilians. None of them are quite like the scantily clad Phoenix Phollies Figures  (Phigures?) that lurked expensively in the back pages of Military Modelling magazine in the Eighties, near the latest Peter Laing adverts. You could (and I did) buy a small  15mm Peter Laing army for the cost of one of those female (or male fantasy) figures.

Marvin of the Suburban Militarism Blog sometimes features female soldiers including recently  Serbian  WW1 women soldiers

https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/heroic-female-soldiers-of-serbia/

I had heard of Flora Sandes the British Sergeant Major through Kate Adie’s book From Corsets to Camouflage. I had also heard of Scottish nursing teams in WW1 at Ostrovo in Serbia. http://www.britserbcham.eu/british-nurses-in-serbia-1915/

Interestingly one of Marvin’s readers Imperial Rebel Ork https://imperialrebelork.wordpress.com mentions #Fembruary as a hobby challenge.

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The #Fembruary challenge seems to have come from

https://leadballoony.com/2018/01/29/more-eru-kin-and-the-fembruary-challenge

Maybe #FEMbruary this year is extra special because  it is the 100th anniversary of The Representation of the People Act on 6 February 1918 / 2018.

This enfranchised or gave the vote for the first time British women over 30 who qualified as property owners etc and British men over 21. To match the men without property who could vote, the women’s vote would finally be widened to all women over 21 in 1928. About blooming time!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representation_of_the_People_Act_1918

http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/case-study-the-right-to-vote/the-right-to-vote/birmingham-and-the-equal-franchise/1918-representation-of-the-people-act/

Women partly earned this long-fought-for right because of their contribution to the war effort in WW1 stepping into many professions that had previously been denied them as men were called up.

How could you conscript and sacrifice the lives of large numbers of working men in the name of democracy, when these men without property didn’t have the vote back home?

A surprisingly large number of women died on the Home Front in munitions, air raids and overseas on active service through enemy action and disease.

This is the focus of the WW100 commemoration this year with the First World War Centenary Partnership and the Imperial War Museum.

 

#FEMbruary, Women, fantasy and gaming?

The Fantasy gaming world has more female gamers than the historical gaming / wargaming community. There are  a few female Wargames bloggers such as Tamsin P. , “That mythical beast – a female Wargamer!”of the Wargaming Girl blog http://wargaminggirl.blogspot.co.uk

and also Victoria Dickinson at Vicky’s Crazy Wargames World  blog with lots of unusual fantasy / historical gaming (Wormingrad? Fabulous Fimo fantasy figures?) http://crazywargames.blogspot.co.uk

Gaming has also had (in the past?) some fairly unrepresentative or oversexualised female miniature figures, something that is being challenged by the ‘Dice Bag Lady’ Annie Norman who runs Bad Squiddo games. http://badsquiddogames.com

You can hear more about her on her guest slots on the Meeples and Miniatures podcasts episodes 168, 197 and 238 https://meeples.wordpress.com/podcast/https://meeples.wordpress.com/podcast/https://meeples.wordpress.com/podcast/

Annie produces some interesting WW2 Russian women soldiers, British Land Girls and Women’s Home Guard figures, but in 28mm, unfortunately not one of my current gaming scales.

“The number one aim for Bad Squiddo Games is to create and supply the miniatures that would have made the hobby far far better for my 10 year old self. To welcome more young girls and women into wargaming and miniature painting, as well as providing diverse options to the entire gaming community. And yeah – cool toys!” Bad Squiddo website 

What can Man of TIN do to mark #FEMbruary and the WoMan of TIN?

At a risk of distorting my New Gaming Year Unresolutions 2018

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/tell-it-to-the-unicorns-new-gaming-year-irresolutions-2018/

I am going for #FEMbruary 2018

#FEMbruary 1: look through my toy soldier collection and pick out some of my favourite female figures for this blog

#FEMbruary 2: do a tissue paper and PVA Featherstone conversion on one of my childhood 1:32 Airfix Footballers into a high stepping saloon girl (with or without rifle?) for 54mm Wild West games

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/donald-featherstones-unusual-take-on-casualties-and-campaigns/#comments

OR

#FEMbruary 3: convert one of my Steve Weston Mexican Civilian women into a handy Votes for Women Suffragette?  Suffrajitzu anyone?

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/more-duelling-inspiration-bartitsu

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If it doesn’t all happen in #FEMbruary, there’s always the very FEMinine sounding  #April #May #June #JulieorJulius #Augusta and #NoFEMber?

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN #FEMbruary 2018